In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids
Unlike Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids, the different styles of In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids vary greatly both physically and functionally. They are custom made to fit each individual's ears and are capable of treating all but those with very severe hearing loss. ITE hearing aids are not suitable for children, as their ear canals are constantly changing shape as they grow.
Due to ITE hearing aids being placed inside the ear, they are often considered more cosmetically appealing for many users. Their larger size gives the advantages of easier manipulation and management, a longer battery life, and the potential to include advanced features. But at the same time, a drawback stemming from this size is that they may pick up wind noise.
There are generally three categories of ITE hearing aids:
- Full and Half Shells (ITC)
Both “shell” hearing aids are custom-molded to fit the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear, and differ in just a few ways. Half Shell hearing aids fill just the lower portion of the outer ear while Full fills most. Because of this, Full Shells are easier to handle, but more visible and more apt to pick up wind noise.
Both are capable of treating mild to moderately severe hearing loss, and offer many features such as directional microphones and volume control.
- In-the-Canal (ITC)
In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aids are designed to fit inside your ear canal. They’re small and discreet, but require good manual dexterity and are limited to treating only mild to moderate hearing loss.
A big advantage of this style is that since it is placed inside your ear, using the telephone or wearing headphones is easy.
- Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)
A hearing aid that is Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) will be placed in your ear canal to become virtually invisible. This model will need to be specially customized to properly fit your ears.
As with other hearing aid styles, its small size has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include it being very discreet, easy to use with telephones, and less likely to pick up wind noise.
Disadvantages include the fact that they require good manual dexterity to manipulate and are limited to treating only mild to moderate hearing loss. Also, their smaller batteries don’t last as long as larger ones, and features are very limited.